The Ratzinger/Benedict XVI legacy

Pope Benedict XVI acknowledges pilgrims during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Nov. 4, 2009. Pope Benedict died Dec. 31, 2022, at the age of 95 in his residence at the Vatican. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, known most recently as the pontiff who renounced the papacy, but who was situated squarely at the centers of power during five decades of epochal change and unprecedented scandal in the global Catholic Church, died on Dec. 31 in the apartment he kept inside a Vatican monastery.

A man whose very name conjured images of a return to the theological repression of the 16th century for many, he first appeared on the church's international stage as Joseph Ratzinger, a young German priest-theologian advocating for progressive reforms at the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council.